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CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal Dies After Battle With Cancer

August 29, 2007 11:18 AM ET

After a lengthy battle with lung cancer, Hilly Kristal, the founder of legendary New York City punk club CBGB, has died at age seventy-five. Kristal, who founded and ran the East Village venue for thirty-three years, bitterly fought with his landlords to save it from closing down, but was forced to pack up his grimy club -- the sticker-covered bar, legendarily disgusting bathroom and all -- last year after he was finally evicted. Rolling Stone will have much more on Kristal and CBGB throughout the day, including a photo gallery documenting the venue's rich history, but for now, remember the last days of the club Kristal fought so hard to preserve by reflecting on its last days.

Check out a photo gallery featuring shots of the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and more CGBG regulars at the club here.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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